Airbus supplier adding second painting facility in Mobile

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The northern Gulf Coast’s burgeoning aerospace sector grew a bit more Tuesday when a German company that paints aircraft said it would expand its operations near the Airbus plant under construction in Mobile.

Maas Aviation will construct a $39 million, twin-bay hangar for painting aircraft at the Mobile Aeroplex site at Brookley, the Mobile Airport Authority said. The project is expected to create 80 jobs.

The new facility will be used to service the market for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhauls in the Americas. Construction is expected to begin this fall and take about one year.

The company has another facility for painting aircraft that will be assembled at the Airbus plant in Mobile. Maas won that contract in April 2014.

Roger Wehner, the authority’s executive director, said he has been impressed by the company so far.

“The design process has included many embedded quality and efficiency elements which we believe contributes to their ability to compete on quality and speed, providing considerable value to operators,” Wehner said in a written statement.

The new project was announced in conjunction with the Paris Air Show in France. A French Airbus supplier, insulation fabricator Hutchinson Corp., announced plans Monday to locate in Mobile.

Airbus began construction in 2013 in Mobile on its first assembly plant in the United States. The factory will produce A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.

Assembly is expected to begin this year, with delivery of the first aircraft constructed in Mobile scheduled for next year. The $600 million plant is expected to employ as many as 1,000 people once production begins.

More than 90 aerospace companies are currently operating on the coast in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor, an industry website operated by specialty publisher and consultant David Tortorano.

North of the coast, central Alabama also is trying to attract work linked to Airbus.

The city of Birmingham, Airbus, and a regional chamber of commerce, the Birmingham Business Alliance, plan to hold a conference this fall for Airbus suppliers.

“We hope to create opportunities for Birmingham businesses and give the opportunity for the city to develop a closer relationship with Airbus,” Birmingham Mayor William Bell said in a statement from the air show in Paris. “This is a very exciting opportunity and an opportunity to create jobs in our city.”

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